Brinegar, Paul, CPO

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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Chief Petty Officer
Last Primary NEC
Last Rating/NEC Group
Primary Unit
1945-1945, RM-0000, NAS Los Alamitos
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Shellback
Order of the Golden Dragon
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 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New Mexico
New Mexico
Year of Birth
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Contact Info
Home Town
Born in Tucumcari, NM. Raised in Santa Fe.
Last Address
Los Angeles, Calif.

Date of Passing
Mar 27, 1995
Location of Interment
Los Angeles National Cemetery - Los Angeles, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin Honorable Discharge Emblem (WWII)

 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge

 Military Association Memberships
Famous People Who Served
  2019, Famous People Who Served [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1942, Recruit Training (San Diego, CA)
 Duty Stations
US NavyNAS Los Alamitos
  1942-1942, RM-0000, Radioman A School, San Diego, CA
  1943-1945, RM-0000, Commander in Chief Southern Pacific (CINCSOUTHPAC)/Commander Southern Pacific (COMSOUTHPAC)
  1945-1945, RM-0000, NAS Los Alamitos
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
  1944-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
 Colleges Attended 
Pasadena City College
  1935-1939, Pasadena City College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Mar 12, 2019, General Photos10
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity



Paul Alden Brinegar Jr. (December 19, 1917 - March 27, 1995) was an American character actor best known for his roles in three western series: The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Rawhide, and Lancer.   


Early years 

Brinegar was born in 1917 in Tucumcari in eastern New Mexico, the first child of Paul A. Brinegar Sr., a farmer, and Louise Brinegar.  


His family relocated several times during his childhood, first moving to Alamagordo, then to Las Cruces, and finally to Santa Fe. It was in Santa Fe where Brinegar became interested in acting, performing in stage productions at his local high school.  


After his graduation in 1935, he left Santa Fe to attend Pasadena Junior College in California. There he studied drama, literature, and art. According to the United States Census of 1940, Brinegar was back in Santa Fe by May of that year living with his parents and his two younger brothers, Warren and Robert.  


The 1940 census also identifies him at that time as an independent "Writer" and his father then as a freelancing "general short hand Reporter". Soon thereafter young Brinegar joined the United States Navy to serve four years during World War II as a chief radio operator in the South Pacific. After the war he returned to California, where he applied his military training and experience to earn a living in the Los Angeles area as a radio repairman. He also resumed his pursuit of an acting career in his spare time, playing bit parts in movies.  



Brinegar's first credited appearance in a feature film was in Larceny (1948). From there, he launched a steady film career that slowed considerably in the late 1950s, after he began appearing on television but did not end until 1994, when Brinegar made his final screen appearance, as a stagecoach driver, in the 1994 film version of Maverick.  


Brinegar appeared more than 100 times between 1946 and 1994 in western films, often specializing in playing "feisty, grizzled cowboy sidekicks". On television, from 1956 to 1958, he played James H. "Dog" Kelley, the mayor of Dodge City, Kansas, in the ABC/Desilu western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp starring Hugh O'Brian. Brinegar appeared in that series 33 times as Kelley and in one other episode in another role. In 1959 he played Ludwig, a bartender, in the episode "The Ringer" of the western series The Texan with Rory Calhoun. Brinegar, however, is best remembered as the cattle-drive cook George Washington Wishbone on the CBS series Rawhide from 1959 to 1966. Earlier he had played a similar role, one as the character Tom Jefferson Jeffrey, in the 1958 movie Cattle Empire upon which Rawhide was based.  


Brinegar also made two guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason. His first appearance on that series, prior to Rawhide, was in 1958. He performed as Tom Sackett in the first-season episode titled "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary". His second appearance on Perry Mason was during the series' ninth and final season. He played Jason Rohan in the 1966 episode "The Case of the Unwelcome Well".  


In the 1968-1970 CBS western series Lancer, Brinegar had the role of Jelly Hoskins; and in 1969 he appeared in the western film Charro! starring Elvis Presley. Then, in 1973, he played the barman in Clint Eastwood's film High Plains Drifter. From 1982 to 1983, returning to television, Brinegar portrayed a humorous cowboy-like character, Lamar Pettybone, during the first season of the ABC series Matt Houston. Later he reprised a revised version of his Rawhide Wishbone character for the 1991 TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, in which he delivers a brief monologue that includes about a dozen references to old television western series.  


The veteran actor died of emphysema at the age of 77 in Los Angeles on March 27, 1995. He was buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery and was survived by his wife Shirley and their two sons, Paul III and Mark.  


His family directed memorial contributions for Brinegar to go to the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills, California.

Other Comments:
Paul A. Brinegar enlisted in the Navy on 4 March 1942, Service Number 5183727. His last duty station was the Communication Office, Los Alamitos Naval Air Station in California.   Chief Brinegar received an honorabe discharge 11 November 1945.  
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